Kendall College launches design academy for GRPS students

Jazuli T Barconi

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University will be offering Grand Rapids Public Schools students a new education program called Design Academy this fall at Southwest Middle/High School, 801 Oakland Ave. SW, Grand Rapids.

The academy will offer after-school classes to middle school students and dual enrollment classes for high school students that can be taken for college credit. The design classes will include hands-on projects, field trips and instruction from KCAD faculty.

The free courses are in furniture design, architecture and graphic design for middle school students and a sustainability and design dual-enrollment course for high school students.

Isabel Blanco Courtesy KCAD

“Art and design education have traditionally been seen as a privilege, not as the career-oriented education that it is,” said Miranda Krajniak, UICA executive director. “Design Academy will help to bridge that gap between school, design education, cultural identity, and college and career readiness for students at an early age.”

UICA’s Community Education Coordinator Isabel Blanco, a bilingual art teacher and KCAD design alumna, will assist with recruiting students from area schools and serve as instructional support for Design Academy classes.

“We are thrilled to take this next step in KCAD’s expanding commitment to supporting equitable and inclusive educational opportunities around design for the students, families and communities we serve,” KCAD President Tara McCrackin said.

The dates and times of the courses are below:

Middle school (grades 7 and 8)

  • Furniture design: Tuesdays and Thursdays, Aug. 31-Sept. 23
  • Architecture: Tuesdays and Thursdays, Oct. 5-Oct. 28
  • Graphic design: Tuesdays and Thursdays, Nov. 4-Dec. 2

High school (grades 9-12)

  • Sustainability and design: Monday and Wednesdays, 4-6:30 p.m.

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